Another test of disaster preparedness in the Pacific Rim

Enrique Silva, Assistant Professor and Faculty Coordinator in City Planning and Urban Affairs at Boston University’s Metropolitan College, offers the following insight into what the aftermath of today’s earthquake in Japan will be for the Pacific Rim and the impact of disaster preparedness and¬†response systems:

“Together with the February New Zealand earthquake, the earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeastern coast of Japan’s Honshu Island today, provide a stark reminder of the geophysical volatility of the Pacific Rim and the ways in which human settlements all around the Rim from Tokyo to San Francisco, Christchurch to Valparaiso, are linked to one another.

“Today’s event is yet another test of the disaster preparedness and response systems of not only the Japanese, but of all the countries and cities that sit along the Pacific, which is also known as the Ring of Fire. While images from Japan show that there are clear limits to what a city or region can prepare for, there are positive signs that worldwide and domestic alert and response systems were set in motion.

“What we are witnessing today are new heights in public awareness of the global, systemic dimensions of natural disasters. This does not in and of itself guarantee fewer human and material losses, but it does speak to national and global changes in outlook toward disaster and the circulation of knowledge on how best to prepare and respond to them.

“The story after today will not only be about the Japanese resilience to these major events, but also to the ways in which countries, cities, systems and individuals around the Pacific responded and managed the crisis.”

Contact Enrique Silva ersilva@bu.edu or call Lauren Davalla in Public Relations at 617-358-1688